DAVID KRAYDEN: Firing Bishop Strickland confirms that Pope Francis is the first woke Pope

Think a bishop can’t be fired? Think again. You just have to support the wrong politics in Pope Francis’ Roman Catholic Church.

Some years ago I coined a term for Roman Catholics who uphold some elements of their faith but reject others, calling them “smorgasbord Catholics.” I can’t say the term has exactly become currency in our political discourse because, to be completely frank, I haven’t seen anyone else using it but it makes perfect sense.

I originally used it in the context of liberal Democrats – like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who call themselves Catholic but espouse a lot of political policies that should be anathema to their faith: abortion being the most obvious.

So that’s why it’s fascinating to see how Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has become the very personification of the smorgasbord Catholic.

He’s a woke Papal leader who actually had the nerve to suggest that some American Catholics are not only too conservative but too ideological and “backwards” as well. It is quite acceptable for Francis to castigate overly conservative believers because he believes when you are “you lose the true tradition and you turn to ideologies to have support. In other words, ideologies replace faith,” he said.

“The vision of the doctrine of the church as a monolith is wrong,” he added. “When you go backward, you make something closed off, disconnected from the roots of the church,” the pope insisted, somehow not seeing the irony in telling conservatives that they have lost “the true tradition” of the church.

“I want to remind these people that backwardness is useless, and they must understand that there’s a correct evolution in the understanding of questions of faith and morals,” that allows for doctrine to progress and consolidate over time.

When was the last time that this pope accused liberal Catholics of being too ideological and not putting their faith first?

He hasn’t. And he won’t because he is the first woke pope in history.

Arguably, Francis has adopted the secular religion that continues to dominate the political world: fighting climate change. The pope can be heard castigating climate change deniers and pointing to floods and forest fires as irrefutable evidence that climate change is an “existential threat” with the same conviction and outrage demonstrated daily by woke politicians like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who tries to convince himself and others that ordinary people lie awake at night worrying about their carbon footprint. 

There have been plenty of imperfect popes throughout the ages, despite their claims to infallibility in faith and morals. In the Middle Ages many popes were so corrupt they made their counterparts in the temporal world appear well-meaning. Pope Pius XII has been called “Hitler’s Pope” in a book by the same name that documents Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli’s rather obvious anti-Semitism, quiet but crucial support for the Nazis and vast indifference to a Holocaust he was very much aware of.

So it should come as no surprise that Pope Francis has fired Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, a conservative cleric from the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.

The Vatican confirmed Strickland’s dismissal in a Saturday news release.

Strickland is a vocal opponent of the expanding LGBTQ+ agenda and, as such, a critic of the pope himself who has spent much of his time in the papacy moving towards embracing homosexuality as a lifestyle condoned by God and the church. 

In this debate, Francis is without Biblical sanction and Strickland is only repeating what his church has been saying for centuries. 

The pope can choose to change the church under his command but he cannot marshal the authority of Scripture to do so.

Bergoglio is also moving towards acceptance of gender ideology, announcing over the weekend that transgender people will be eligible for baptism.

I began to have my doubts about this pope when he acceded to Justin Trudeau’s request for a private audience and Francis had absolutely no criticism of Trudeau’s policies but was quick to agree that as pope he should issue a public apology for the church’s role in Canada’s residential schools, a cause celebre for woke leftists in the country. 

Why did the pope not issue a condemnation of Trudeau’s active promotion of “reproductive rights” that really means Canada has no abortion law at all? It is not widely known inside or outside of the country that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s last abortion law in 1988 and no successive government has possessed both the inclination and political wisdom to enact another one. Trudeau enthusiastically boasts that the country allows unrestricted abortion demand up to the delivery of the child. Canada has more liberal – read inhumane – abortion laws than any European country and the woke government is aligned with the subsidized and sympathetic liberal media to ensure the subject is never raised during election campaigns or debated on the floor of the House of Commons. The issue is alleged “settled” as liberals like to call it. 

Neither has the pope issued any papal bulls against Canada’s growing euthanasia policy, described almost innocuously as Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Canada has become the suicide capitol of the world with people actually visiting the country to kill themselves. The law will soon be applied to the mentally ill – people who are often  lacking the intellectual capacity to decide whether they seek medical assistance to die. And there’s more: the category of mentally ill will also include drug addicts. So as the layers to this program are assiduously built, it becomes more and more apparent that this Trudeau government policy is really becoming nothing less than a eugenics program. 

So while the pope clearly admires Trudeau as a fellow traveler in social activism, he had no time for Strickland, especially when the bishop called President Joe Biden an “evil president” for his outspoken support for abortion. 

You can argue about how evil Biden is but you cannot deny is a flagrant hypocrite and another Democratic smorgasbord Catholic who used to support the Hyde Amendment that bans public funding for abortion but twisted himself into a pretzel over that policy while seeking his party’s presidential nomination. Always the unprincipled political opportunist, Biden knew he couldn’t win while demonstrating any antipathy whatsoever towards the murder of the unborn.

So while Bergoglio has become a papal authority obsessed with climate change and the LGBTQ+ agenda, the church has remained a staunch critic of abortion – even as it does nothing to discourage church members who are also politically woke from expanding access to the procedure and public acceptance of it. 

Will abortion be the next ideological hurdle for Francis to navigate. He’s 86, so his time as pontiff is limited, but watch this pope begin the political and theological gymnastics necessary to end another element of faith that is embarrassing and discomforting to liberal Catholics.

Before this pope is through, there might be very little left in the smorgasbord to ignore or dispense with.

Image: Title: Strickland Francis